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N618V accident description

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Crash location 35.054444°N, 89.682223°W
Nearest city Collierville, TN
35.042036°N, 89.664527°W
1.3 miles away
Tail number N618V
Accident date 17 Jul 2013
Aircraft type Johnson Garret W Merlin Gt
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On July 17, 2013, about 1635 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Merlin GT, N618V, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power near Collierville, Tennessee. The airline transport pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The flight was originating from Colonial Air Park at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot, he conducted a preflight inspection and added five gallons of fuel to bring the total fuel quantity up to 12 gallons. He taxied to the runway and departed to the north. On climbout, about a half mile north of the runway at 300-400 feet AGL, he heard a loud "pop." The engine lost all power, and the pilot elected to make a forced landing in a residential area. During the emergency landing; the airplane impacted a tree on a lake front. The pilot and passenger exited the airplane and it was consumed by post-crash fire.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the airplane's cockpit was totally consumed by post-crash fire. Flight control continuity was established from the control surfaces to the cockpit controls. Examination of the throttle linkage revealed that it was still connected to the carburetors, but could not be moved due to fire damage. The electronic ignition system was fire damaged, and could not be tested. The propeller was rotated freely by hand through 360 degrees and valve train continuity and compression in the engine were established. Examination of the fuel system revealed that it was totally consumed by post-crash fire. The fuel tanks were melted and the fuel filters were also fire damaged.

According to the FAA Carburetor Icing Probability Chart, the aircraft was operating in conditions conducive to carburetor icing during cruise and glide power at the time of the accident.

NTSB Probable Cause

The total loss of engine power during takeoff for reasons that could not be determined during postaccident examination due to postcrash fire damage.

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